On April 2, Dr. Anthony Cortese, whose work for sustainability has become the foundation for higher education institutions, will provide an informed perspective on the role of environmentally conscious action and policy in higher education. The co-director of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment as well as president of the non-profit organization Second Nature, Cortese is the next guest of the President's Forum lecture series.
Having spent his life encouraging sustainability, Cortese now leads organizations such as Second Nature that strive to catalyze a worldwide effort to make healthy, just and sustainable action a foundation of all learning and practice in higher education. He is also co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and the Higher Education Association Sustainability Consortium and is a consultant to industry, government and non-profit organizations. He is active with organizations such as the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers and the National Association of Educational Buyers, which promotes sustainable design, planning and purchasing in higher education.
Cortese's talk, “Creating a Just and Sustainable Society: A 21st Century Opportunity,” will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Geneva Room, following an afternoon meeting with the HWS President's Climate Commitment Task Force. In September, President Gearan signed the Climate Commitment, making Hobart and William Smith Colleges a charter member of the effort to reduce emissions of gases responsible for global warming.
Formerly the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Cortese was also the first dean of environmental programs at Tufts University. Serving as dean, he spearheaded the award-winning Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute in 1989, which helped integrate environmental and sustainability perspectives in more than 175 courses, and the internationally acclaimed Talloires Declaration of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future in 1990.
Among other merits, Cortese is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been a consultant to the United Nations Environmental Programme, a member of the EPA Science Advisory Board and the President's Council on Sustainable Development's Education Task Force. He has been actively engaged in climate change and other large system environmental challenges for 25 years. He is also a founding member of the U.S. Board of Councilors for the China – U.S. Center for Sustainable Development.
Cortese's writing can be found in a wide spectrum of publications including Environmental Science and Technology, The Journal of the Association of Governing Boards, Planning for Higher Education, Facilities Manager and in books such as “Ecological Medicine” by Kenny Ausubel. His articles and essays on education for sustainability serve as foundational reading for anyone striving to transform the process and content of higher education.
Cortese has B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil and environmental engineering from Tufts University and a Doctor of Science in Environmental Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.
His talk is open to both members of the Colleges’ community and to the general public.
The President's Forum Series, established in the winter of 2000 by President Gearan, is designed to bring a variety of speakers to campus to share their knowledge and ideas with students, faculty and staff of the Colleges, as well as with interested community members.
The next and final President's Forum speaker of the semester will be Dr. Wangari Maathai Sc.D.'94, P '94, P '96. She will speak in the Smith Opera House at 7:30 p.m. on April 24. The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and founder of The Green Belt Movement, Maathai is an international authority on sustainable development, human rights and activism.